From the outset, let me just say that spiking the football is just poor sportspersonship. Sports in general are demonstrating more and more that it is about “Me! Me! Me!” and not a team effort. Just the other day, I remarked to my partner how sad it is that when a soccer player scores a goal, he or she now runs away from the embrace of teammates to claim all the credit. It hints (not so subtly) of arrogance.
And so it is when the President of the United States jets himself off to Afghanistan on our dime to brag about HIS big accomplishment of killing Osama bin Laden a year ago. Then goes on prime time tee-vee to declare that “the tide has turned” with the Taliban (because he hasn’t been on the tee-vee enough apparently). Yes, Obama went to our one of our military bases there for this photo-op:
(Photo credit: en.ria.ru)
Isn’t he just SO manly?! Ugh, blech. I am certain our military there, working under difficult and dangerous conditions, is SO glad to be used in this manner. Aren’t you?
Anyway, after Obama’s Big Speech claiming, “we can see the light of a new day on the horizon,” guess what happened? The Taliban happened, that’s what:
The Taliban struck back less than two hours after President Barack Obama left Afghanistan on Wednesday, targeting a foreigners’ housing compound with a suicide car bomb and militants disguised as women in an assault that killed at least seven people.
It was the second major assault in Kabul in less than three weeks and highlighted the Taliban’s continued ability to strike in the heavily guarded capital even when security had been tightened for Obama’s visit and Wednesday’s anniversary of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan.
“We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al-Qaida’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders,” he said. [snip]
Well, that WOULD be nice, to break the Taliban’s “momentum.” I would love nothing more. Though it kind of begs the question why we are helping them get an office in Qatar, if we are trying to “break their momentum”?? I know, I know – why inject facts into Obama’s reverie? Ahem.
There is a good reason for my asking, though, considering this attack two hours later after Obama spoke. And here is the explanation for it:
[snip] Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.
“This was a message to Obama that those are not real Afghans that are signing documents about this country,” Mujahid said. “The real Afghan nation are those people that are not letting foreign invaders stay in this country or disrespect the dignity of our country.”[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
Perhaps it is just this kind of terrible attack that is leading some people to query: Is this Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment?
Meanwhile, there was another incident in Afghanistan just the other day about which little has been said. The headline says it all: “Elite Afghan Soldier Kills U.S. Special Forces Mentor“:
An elite Afghan soldier shot dead an American mentor and his translator at a U.S. base, Afghan officials said on Friday, in the first rogue shooting blamed on the country’s new and closely vetted special forces.
The soldier opened fire at an American military base on Wednesday in Shah Wali Kot district, in volatile Kandahar province, said General Abdul Hamid, the commander of Afghan army forces in the Taliban’s southern heartland.
“The shooting took place after a verbal conflict where the Afghan special forces soldier opened fire and killed an American special forces member and his translator,” Hamid told Reuters.[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
Sigh. This kind of thing is apparently going on more than we are hearing, too. According to this AP article, the attacks are being under-reported:
The United States military is under-reporting the number of times that Afghan soldiers and police open fire on American and other foreign troops.
The U.S.-led coalition routinely reports each time an American or other foreign soldier is killed by an Afghan in uniform. But The Associated Press has learned it does not report insider attacks in which the Afghan wounds — or misses — his U.S. or allied target. It also doesn’t report the wounding of troops who were attacked alongside those who were killed.
Such attacks reveal a level of mistrust and ill will between the U.S.-led coalition and its Afghan counterparts in an increasingly unpopular war. The U.S. and its military partners are working more closely with Afghan troops in preparation for handing off security responsibility to them by the end of 2014.[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)
And that is why I find Obama’s spiking the football, not just here, but over in Afghanistan, so distasteful. Not only is it arrogant, but it amounts to taunting. Who pays for that? Our troops, and innocent bystanders, pay for that. That is simply unacceptable.
What the US has accomplished in Afghanistan, for the taking out of bin Laden, does not belong to Obama. It belongs to all of us. Bottom line, the credit belongs not to Obama, but to our brave military personnel, who have endured more than we can imagine in their efforts on our behalf.
And so, I must share with you this video (h/t Helenk and 2harp) for this video:
Thank you to those for whom credit really IS due, even though you would never ask us for it, even though you do not “spike the football.” Thank you for all you do on our behalf, for all you and your families endure on our behalf, for your bravery, courage, and commitment. Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf. We are a nation indebted to you.
And Obama, just stop spiking the football. Please. Please stop using our military for your campaign photo ops. Stop glossing over the very real dangers that still face our military in Afghanistan, and other countries. Please START giving credit where credit is due. Thank you.